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Exhibit of the month – March 2024

03/2024

Bronze statuette of Hermes

Roman imperial period, 2nd – 3rd centuries
Archaeological investigations of Cillae – Roman road station and settlement along the Via Militaris
Photo: K. Georgiev

The figure of the god is represented standing on a stand, naked with bare feet. The weight of the body falls on the right leg. The left, slightly bent at the knee, is brought out to the side with the foot pointing outwards. In the right hand, bent at the elbow, the god is holding a purse, and in the left, unpreserved, a caduceus (staff), the upper end of which is missing. The left shoulder and arm are covered with a cloak. The god is wearing a winged hat and a hoop with a lunula around his neck.

The bronze statuette of Hermes (Mercury) was discovered during rescue excavations in 2023 at one of the most famous sites of the road network of Roman Thrace – the road station and its accompanying settlement – Cillae. The site is known from the Itinerarium Burdigalense, situated at 30 Roman miles (about 45 km) from Philippopolis. Cillae is designated as a road station (mansio).

During the research in 2023, led by Assoc. Prof. Dr Zdravko Dimitrov (NAIM-BAN), excavations were carried out along 300 meters through the present-day village of Cherna Gora, Chirpan region, where Cillae is located. More than ten buildings from the ancient site were recorded, but also the Via Militaris itself – one of the major "highways" of the ancient world connecting Europe and Asia.

The exhibit is part of the temporary exhibition "Bulgarian Archeology 2023", on display in the Central Hall of the National Archaeological Museum until May 26, 2024.